Opening Lead

Posted 01 July 2008 by Ron

The opening lead is probably the most difficult part of the play of the cards. The reason is that with all later plays you will have had the benefit of seeing dummy and that usually provides a clearer guide. For the opening lead it means that studying the bidding carefully is an absolute must - too many players consider only the cards in their own hand when making decisions on the opening lead.

Leading against no-trump contracts

The play by defenders is similar to declarer’s play in no-trumps. Attack the partnership suit that will bring in the most tricks. Usually that means lead your longest suit and keep leading it at every opportunity until declarer and dummy have been exhausted of that suit. Then the remaining cards in your long suit will be winners. Here’s a guide for selecting a suit to lead in order of preference:
1.    A suit in which your partner has shown length
2.    Your longest suit, unless your opponents have bid it
3.    With two equally long suits, normally prefer the stronger

Leading against trump contracts

It remains vital to pay close attention to the bidding but leading your partnership’s long suit won’t give you the same benefit in a trump contract as it would in no-trumps. Your cards will not necessarily be winners once your opponents run out of that suit, since they will be able to trump in. Here’s a guide for selecting a suit to lead in order of preference:
1.    Lead partner’s suit
2.    Lead a 3-card or stronger sequence
3.    Lead a suit headed by the A-K
4.    Lead a singleton
5.    Lead you strongest suit

Resources for Opening Lead

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